Economics Graduates are Paid the Highest Salaries | Top Universities

Economics Graduates are Paid the Highest Salaries

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Sabrina Collier

Updated Apr 18, 2021



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Economics graduates are the highest-paid in the UK, according to new information from the Department of Education.

148 institutions and salaries from the graduating class of 2013 were analyzed to find out which degrees produced the best-paid graduates. As well as economics, engineering, computer science and medicine were among the top earners.

The report also reveals the impact that the university you attend will have on your future earnings, with some institutions’ graduates earning far less in certain subjects.

For example, economics graduates from the London School of Economics (LSE) earn an average salary of £55,200 (~US$70,500) five years after graduating, with the top 25% earning more than £120,000 (~US$153,200). However, economics graduates from the University of Cambridge (the UK’s highest-ranked university) earn a higher average salary five years after graduating of £61,000 (~US$77,900).

Among the universities which are least successful at producing high-earning graduates is the University of East London, whose economics graduates earn an average of £18,100 (~US$23,100), despite the university’s proximity to the major financial center of London.

Computer science graduates can also expect to earn a considerable amount after leaving university, particularly those from Imperial College London who earn an average of £39,400 (~US$50,300) one year after graduation and £51,800 (~US$66,100) five years after graduation.

In contrast, computer science graduates from universities such as Cumbria, Bradford and Sunderland earn as little as £20,000 (~US$25,500) even after five years of work.

For medicine, the highest salaries were earned by University of Glasgow graduates – an average of £49,200 (~US$62,800) after five years – while engineering graduates from the University of Aberdeen were the highest earners after five years, at an average of £49,000 (~US$62,550).

Unexpected results for law graduates

Surprisingly, law is perhaps not as lucrative as its reputation as a high-earning profession would suggest, with an average salary of only £25,300 (~US$32,300) after five years. However, as with other subjects, a degree from a highly prestigious university can make all the difference. Law graduates from the University of Oxford typically earn £61,400 (~US$78,400) after five years, while, in contrast, Bradford University law graduates earned an average of £17,300 (~US$22,100) after five years.

Conversely, nursing, typically considered a relatively low-paying career, actually earns a higher average salary than you might expect at £28,400 (~US$36,250), with some on salaries as high as £50,000 (~US$63,800) after five years.

The most lucrative degrees for the highest salaries

The least lucrative degrees

Economics and Management, Oxford £71,700 (~US$97,100)

Media Studies, Bangor University £15,500 (~US$19,800)

Economics, LSE £55,200 (~US$70,500)

Education, University of Manchester £16,500 (~US$21,100)

Computer Science, Imperial College £51,800 (~US$66,200)

Modern languages, University of Salford £16,700 (~US$21,340)

Medicine, University of Glasgow £49,200 (~US$62,800)

Psychology, Glyndwr University £16,800 (~US$21,465)

Engineering, University of Aberdeen £49,000 (~US$62,550)

Law, University of Bradford £17,300 (~US$22,100)


Insights into the gender pay gap

Worryingly, there’s also clear evidence of a gender pay gap in today’s graduates. Men in the class of 2013 earn an average of 11% more than women across all subject backgrounds. The biggest difference between earnings was in computer science, where men earn around a third more than women. Other subjects with a high gender pay gap include agriculture (19%), and business and administration (14%). However, economics breaks the glass ceiling, with women actually earning slightly more than men in this field.

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